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I have seen postings in the Google thread where some have suggested that the text of the link carries more weight than the theme of the site the link is on. Does anyone have an opinion on this?
We deal in a niche market and there are few sites that are very on topic so we would like to be able to feel good about linking with other sites when they provide good links with our keyword text.
When identifying the themed relevance of a link Google takes into account the title ,content ,anchor text of the page and the actual link of the text. But seeing as you are dealing with a really niche market it's probably safe to say that you can't find many linking opportunities that cover all these criteria.
If you've got the opportunity of sites linking to you using your keywords in the link text and bearing in mind they have something to offer visitors to your site and a decent PR, then I'd say go for it.
It's my opinion that links do not always have to be within a theme. It just depends why it's there in the first place, is it for Google or for visitors to your site.